Thursday, August 23, 2012

't lang leven :: "longevity"

We went away last weekend. 
To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. 
It was spontaneous. 

To try to make a rather long story short. There's a TV programme here in Belgium "Met 4 in Bed" and the premise is that the owners of four B&B's visit each others properties, spend the night and then provide critique.

't lang leven moestuin & guesthouse
our room was the window you see above the vegetable garden
 't lang leven near Ichtegem (Belgium, of course) was featured the first week of August. We fell in love first with the owners, Annie & Luc, and then with their B&B as the week progressed. Their philosophy is simple "enjoy the peace and quiet." Before the program featuring their property was over I had dashed an email asking if the Moestuin "vegetable garden" room was available for the weekend of our anniversary. The next morning came the quick reply that indeed it was and we were booked in for two nights. Two nights, the two of us including breakfast ... for 105€ ... $132. 


We set out Friday afternoon on nearly the hottest day of the year. On the way we dropped Whisper at the kennel we've used several times before but only after a few detours because this silly mom left her collar at home. I had her leash but no collar. Turns out the kennel has plenty to spare so no big deal but it did make us rather late.

Wow, I can not say enough good things about this B&B. We were greeted warmly and offered a glass of chilled white wine with a splash of homemade cassis (a liquor made of red wine and black currants). We chatted for a while about a number of things before Annie showed us to our room. 

No TV, no radio. 

Annie bakes fresh bread daily, Luc is in charge of the bread rolls. Fresh fruit and jams come from their garden. Annie's herb garden is gorgeous and full of bees and butterflies of all kinds. Oh, and that vegetable garden - wow! Omelets from their chickens .. you're getting the picture, right?

Here are just a few pictures we took in their lovely garden over the course of the weekend. There was an exhibition going on "Art and Garden, Summer in Ichtegem" (through August 27th, Fridays through Mondays from 2-6:30pm). The featured artist at 't lang leven is Goedele Soetewey, it is her calligraphy and stone carving you see in some of the photos.

't lang leven

It was wonderful. 

Thank you Annie & Luc for the perfect location to mark our 15th wedding anniversary!

We thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet.

It will be repeated.
We will be back.


Stop back by tomorrow to read more about our weekend adventures ...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dazed {oh happy daze}

August has been amazing ... fulfilling, happy and promising.

oh happy daze
keep reading ... there's more about this quilt "oh happy daze" at the end ...
It all began with one of two open house days here in the shop ... expectations were surpassed in every possible way! So many friends came, shopped, visited and enjoyed my freshly baked cookies, coffee and tea. The weather cooperated and everyone was able to cozy up in the courtyard for a chatter. It was so nice to see everyone and makes me appreciate this fantastic circle of friends in so many way. Three friends in particular really went out of their way to help make the open house a success ... Edith, Magda and Marleen organized, folded, rolled and priced, cleaned and made coffee. Without them the open house days would not have been nearly as successful.

p.s. I've been officially told off for not showing you more pictures of the inside of the shop. If you're on facebook be sure to check out the pictures that Marleen took.

JPA august 2012

On Saturday we went to pick up Axel's new bike. The first time since he was a child that the poor guy has had a frame that fits his own 6'8" (203cm) frame.  More about that in a few days when I tell you about our fantastic anniversary weekend.

Sunday I cut, sewed and machine quilted the little quilt you see above. I hand quilted some of the quilt too and you can see a close up of that below.

me and AM
Monday I ran around cleaning house ... because company was expected. Oh my gosh! Neighbours from England who now live back in their native Ireland. Man, it's been 12 years ... and they were only staying for one night. Seriously. HOW do you pack 12 years and a night's sleep into 20 hours?? It was a blast and there is no way we're going to wait another 12 years. For one, their girls are growing up way too fast. Niamh was in diapers last time we saw here, but bummed that Aisling couldn't join them - next time!
Once they left I got the shop ready for the 2nd open house day. It was Wednesday, everyone thought I shouldn't expect too many visitors. I agreed and we were all blown out of the water when it turned out to be even busier than the previous Friday. The weather was crappy but that didn't stop the sweetest bunch of ladies from gathering around my kitchen table to stitch, chat, drink coffee and tea and enjoy more of the cookies I had made.

brenda birthday brenda's dress
Thursday morning I stumbled out of bed and made myself as presentable as possible to run to the airport and pick up my friend, Brenda, and her husband, Gary. Woohoo, did we pack a lot into four days! We laughed, cried and laughed until we cried some more. Brenda needed her dress altered to wear to a wedding this weekend in Italy. Ugh .. shifty lace and chinese silk lining, but oh my gosh it turned out so cute! And in exchange she tackled my Mt Rainier pile of ironing and finished it! .. the best part is she still thinks she got the better end of the deal. We had a lovely day in Gent to celebrate her birthday and I bought something rather cool but will tell you about that later too. I dumped them onto the train Monday morning and then came home and went back to bed. I had some serious sleep to catch up on.

Another bleary-eyed morning greeted me on Tuesday as I jumped in the car to head to Germany. Axel's parents were in dire need of a bulky grocery shopping trip so I combined it with an afternoon sewing with my girlfriends from Mülheim. Bummed that I didn't take pictures but you can read more about my last visit here. Their projects always astound me ...

Duty and pleasure were taken care of and rewarded by confirmation from our doctor that we are all clear to start trying to get pregnant again. Oh my ... emotions are trying to flood in all different directions but thankfully the busy month means that I'm distracted and busy enough that I'm still sleeping ok and trying my best not to stress.

This last weekend was the perfect way to do that ... Axel and I went away to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Trust me, the B&B where we stayed and the weekend itself deserve their very own posts. So check back soon ...

But .. you want to know more about that quilt, right? It sure isn't my "normal" thing is it? NOPE! Not at all .. in fact I made it as a sort of challenge to myself ... soft, blendy colors. What do you think? successful? or not? I think it's either a love or dislike, maybe even indifferent for some people. But if you're interested in the kit or pattern let me know and I'll see what I can do ;) I'm sending it off to a friend today to use as a sample in her store.

The quilt is entirely machine pieced. Then I machine quilted it except for the points of the stars. There I chose to do a "bigger" hand quilting stitch using 3 strands of hand-dyed embroidery thread. I love how that part turned out! I think it gave it a little weight, dimension, definition and some softness to otherwise very straight lines. Check here to read the label. I prefer to write directly on the quilt backing to create a permanent label that can't be changed or removed.

I'm calling the quilt Oh HAPPY DAZE 
to celebrate the amazing month 
this August has turned out to be.

oh happy daze collage

And a word for the wise ... always wash your fabric! No matter what "they" say. My quilt now measures just over 19-1/2" square-ish. Ahem - it should be 20-1/2" but ... guess who was in a hurry and didn't wash her fabrics. Never, NEVER will I do that again. I always wash my fabric with very very few exceptions. But I can tell you that this quilt after quilting and washing it shrunk an entire INCH!! I really had to do a bit of stretching, pulling and blocking to get to to be 19-5/8" when I was done. Straight out of the wash it was much closer to 19-1/4" ... ugh. Just a reminder to me and everyone else who wants to know - WASH your fabrics. They do shrink. Just think if it shrunk 1 inch out of 20 ... if you were making a king size it could potentially shrink up to FIVE inches. What a disappointment if you wanted that quilt to fall to the boxspring line or something.

I'm also linking up to WIP Wednesday .. must celebrate this finisht that was never even on the list!
Argh, my list of WIPs hasn't changed a bit :(
Next week maybe.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Dashing By with a Finish!

First and foremost, another quilt is finished!!!

And yes I'll show more but right now I'm dashing around in a daze
trying to pack our bag and a picnic for tonight.

Axel and I are going away for the weekend to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.
Boy, those 15 years have flown by ... I'll tell you more about them later.

More poignantly the last three weeks have flown by. Thank you to those of you who sent a sweet message asking if I was ok 
... it's been so busy that blog writing had to take a back burner.

We had visitors from Ireland and Seattle. We celebrated two Open House days in the shop ... I'm still overwhelmed by the response and will tell you more about it soon.

I'm plugging away at projects but kicked one out in record time to help out a friend. Here's just a quick peak. If I showed you the whole thing I'd have to tell the story and I just don't have time for that so I hope you don't mind.

Here's a peak of the label. Hopefully you can read it.

So what do you include on your labels?
I'd love to read your comments, ideas and suggestions.

oh happy daze - quilt labelled 

Machine Pieced and Quilted,
Hand Quilted by Jovita Goldschmidt
August 2012 * Kalken, Belgium

100% cotton batting * machine wash cool * lay flat to dry * xox JG

The quilt has been revealed in this post.

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